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SUCKER PUNCH: Liz Tells Frank Live Ep. 2

Dear Frank,

‘Twas a temperate November evening last year that brought you, I and a wonderful live studio audience together so that the mysteries and layers of Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch” could be peeled back.

What did we learn about? Oh, just multiple realities, multiple attempted rape and some of the stupidest character names ever. It was a magical evening, and now those who weren’t there can get a taste of the magic, thanks to YouTube and podcasts!

Video here:

And audio-only version available via iTunes (eventually) or below (right now)!

Huge thanks to our fabulous studio audience, Andrew Deutsch and the fine folk of Nerdstrong in North Hollywood for hosting, official bell-masters Aimee and Toni, live-tweeter Margaret Dunlap and Barrett Garese and Laurel Vail for additional production assistance. Plus, a very very special thanks to introducer and producer David Nett!

Do you want to be cool like them? Well, the next Liz Tells Frank: Live is COMING RIGHT THE HELL UP. Specifically, January 23 in North Hollywood. Even more specifically: “50 Shades of Grey.” Details and (free!) tickets here. (Inner goddess, save me.)


Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Moan for Bigfoot”

Dear Frank,

moan for bigfoot book coverSo my history with romance novels is long, complicated and surprisingly personal — but it began at summer camp. The year I was 12 or 13, one of the girls in my cabin at camp received a care package from a friend containing a half-dozen paperback romances, and they were passed around during hushed nights outside or in, the books falling open easily to the naughtiest bits.

It was exciting and fun — I found sex on the page to be far less scary than the prospect of real sex with a human being — and even when I stopped reading them, I never lost a residual fondness for the genre.

Since those smoky camp days, the romance novel industry has undergone some major shifts, but none so big as the advent of self-publishing, which has allowed writers with followings to make more money from their books than they might with a traditional publisher — it’s such a huge shift in the business that it’s led me to explore self-publishing myself (I make significantly less from sales than most romance novelists, alas).

But one of the things self-publishing rewards is specification — which is why, when I heard about author Virginia Wade, who makes $30,000 a month from her self-published Bigfoot erotica on Amazon, I wasn’t terribly shocked. Amused, sure, but not shocked. Especially when I saw that she employs one of the self-published ebook author’s most common strategies — make the first taste free, have them coming back for more.

This strategy also made it possible for me to read Moan for Bigfoot, the story that kicks off Wade’s epic Sasquatch romance series, for absolutely no money. Given that “absolutely no money” was the price I was willing to spend on it, Frank, it worked out really well!

So, how does Bigfoot erotica actually play out? I sat down to find out! Bigfoot erotica! WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Deliverance”

Dear Frank,

This movie is one that has been on my to-do list for you for over a year now — I suspect, in fact, that Deliverance is the perfect example of the type of film for which this blog was created: Classic, yet not necessarily a classic that would be considered essential viewing.

And it’s a classic for one very specific reason — I admit up front that my foreknowledge of this movie is limited to the fact that a dude gets raped in it. I mean, technically, that’s not the whole truth — I totally listened to that APM interview with the daughter of the writer once. But really all I have in my mind right now is “squeal piggy squeal!” And that isn’t helped by the fact that during the opening credits, we’re watching nature being demolished by bulldozers while this bit of voice-over plays: “We’re gonna rape this whole goddamn landscape. We’re gonna rape it.” My irony detector just went DING DING DING.

This movie moves pretty fast when it wants to — we’re quickly introduced to four bros heading out to a river in the Appalachians for a good ol’ fashioned bro trip. (Technically, these men pre-date the actual “bro” movement, but the concept remains the same.) The river they’re about to canoe down is about to disappear due to the construction of a dam (“YOU CAN’T FIGHT PROGRESS!”) and I’m beginning to suspect that maybe, JUST MAYBE, this movie is about the corruption of innocence. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Hell Comes to Frogtown”

Dear Frank,

So I should have written this post sometime during 2011, as it was heavily requested during the last round of open calls for what I should tell you about. It didn’t happen. You know why, Frank? I really didn’t want to watch this movie! But I got called out, and god forbid I quaver at the feet of any challenge. Even the challenge of a 1987 post-apocalyptic pseudo-comedy starring Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Thus, here’s this movie! The backstory: Apocalypse, of the nuclear kind. And there are dudes who make frog noises and they’re not allowed to have guns? I’m guessing they’re the titular frogs? I am mentally preparing myself for a great deal of literalness. Because, lest you think the title was some sort of fancypants metaphor thing, we establish right away that Rowdy Roddy Piper’s character is named Sam Hell. I bet at some point, he comes to Frogtown!

But first, he’s in jail, getting a bottle broken over his head for some sort of grievious offense against a dude’s daughter — I’m guessing it’s a SEXY offense? Oh, it totally is, because it’s just been revealed that the guy’s daughter is pregnant, which is a miracle in these barren apocalypse-y days, and is thus very interesting to the ladies of Med-Tech, some sort of government organization devoted to making more babies, because doing it naturally isn’t working out so well. This is delivered with all the subtlety and wit that you’d expect from a movie about giant mutated frog people, just so we’re clear. Read the rest of this entry

It’s the Liz Tells Frank Very Special Guest Star Anniversary Contest Spectacular!

Dear Frank,

It was upon this day, one year ago, that I first told you about a movie, TV show or book you didn’t want to watch. (It was Tron! Aw, Tron. Good times.)

To commemorate this auspicious anniversary, I reached out to some friends of LTF to help me out with the first ever Liz Tells Frank Contest/Giveaway/Whatever Language Keeps Me From Running Afoul of California Lottery Laws! These fine folk volunteered to tell me about a movie or video game I myself haven’t seen or played: Here’s the twist — our readers don’t get to know what I’m being told about. They instead have to deduce it themselves using only the provided summaries! And the first reader to successfully guess all three will win $20 in Amazon money!

UPDATE: The winner of the contest is none other than Jill Weinberger! Congrats Jill! This post has been updated to include the names of the things being discussed.

So, Frank, please enjoy the efforts of our friends — and here’s to at least one more year of this ridiculous, ridiculous blog.

Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “The Expendables”

Dear Frank,

Today, as I sit down to watch Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables, I am at a crossroads. See, as you know, I consider myself to be a feminist (in terms of the definition: “I don’t think women are inferior to men and I don’t think they should be treated that way”). But I also have a deep, deep affection for stupid action movies and their heroes. I admire the films of Jet Li. I thoroughly enjoyed the latest Rambo. If I weren’t a delicate, chaste lady who’s never even heard of a “touch hutch,” Jason Statham would be in my touch hutch. My point is, I am about to watch a movie that features nearly every major action hero of the last twenty to thirty years, a movie that has no chance whatsoever of passing the Bechdel Test, and I am probably going to enjoy it quite a bit.

The movie starts pretty fast — there are some dudes being held captive by some other dudes on a boat, and then another group of dudes — our HERO DUDES, let’s be clear, appear to try and save the hostages. Dolph Lungren (this movie’s cast really is unbelievable) ignores Sly’s “don’t shoot people to death” warning and basically machine-guns off the main hostage-taker’s torso; more shooting ensues! Oh boy do duders die, Frank. In heat vision and everything!

But then the hostage scenario comes to a stand-off that includes Stallone and Statham (guys I really do love Statham please don’t judge me harshly) negotiating over which guys they each get to kill. Don’t worry — all the bad guys get killed. Except one, who Dolph wants to hang as a warning to “pirates,” but Jet Li says “nope” with his feet and fists! Read the rest of this entry

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